A few years back my best friend and I took a road trip through Northern California’s Wine Country. After our fill of vineyards and vino we ventured along the Russian River until it emptied into the Pacific and headed back south along scenic Highway 1 to San Francisco.
It was an outstanding trip filled with beautiful countryside, great wines, spontaneity, ocean waves and barbecued oysters. Yes, barbecued oysters. Once we were north of Sonoma headed along the Russian River we began to notice advertising for this regional delicacy.
Making a brief pit stop in a Bodega, population 220 we happened upon another sign. Speaking to the surfer guy behind the wooden counter of the shop, he highly recommended the aforementioned, barbecued bivalves. Surfer guy like, totally wanted us to check out the “Boat House” in Bodega Bay on our way south.
So we did! The town of Bodega Bay sets on the harsh waves and rocky shore of the Pacific along Highway 1. The Boat House was easy to spot and we were warmly welcomed. Wooden tables, servers taking orders long hand, a plastic menu board with movable lettering from the ’80’s, and open faced grills set the ambience for this no frills hole-in-the-wall. The Boat House appeared popular amongst the locals, campers and road trippers such as ourselves. We ordered up the fresh barbecued oysters and oh my goodness were they ever good! Grilled to perfection these globes of goodness emit a hint of saline brininess, and zing with a buttery barbecue sauce.
Nothing fancy here, oysters are grilled shell side down on open flames and served up on paper plates with lemons. We sat looking out at the Pacific, sipping on a nice Riesling from Sonoma and consumed two plates of oysters. After slurping our fill we made it back to the car cranked up the radio and enjoyed the twisting, turning (sometimes, death defying) venture along Highway 1. The coast to our right and fields of pasture to our left combined with the fresh scent of redwoods and salty air blowing back our hair.